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Name: People v. Gallardo
Case #: A141550
Opinion Date: 08/28/2015
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Citation: 239 Cal.App.4th 1333

Defendant who affirmatively used fraudulent documents in an effort to persuade family court of the merits of his position was guilty of offering forged or fraudulent documents into evidence (Pen. Code, § 132) even though the documents did not become part of the court record. After Gallardo stopped paying child support, his ex-wife sought an income withholding order. At a contested hearing in family court, Gallardo held up a handful of papers and said they were cancelled checks and other documents that proved he had been paying child support. His ex-wife disputed the authenticity of the documents. The court found that there was insufficient evidence to set aside the wage assignment, but told Gallardo he could pursue an administrative remedy through DCSS. The documents were not provided to the family court and did not become part of the record. Gallardo next initiated an administrative review with DCSS and provided them the same documents he had held up in court. During its review, DCSS discovered the documents were fraudulent. At a criminal trial, Gallardo was convicted of two counts of offering forged or fraudulent documents into evidence (Pen. Code, § 132): one count for the documents he held up during the hearing and one count for the documents he provided to DCSS. He appealed, arguing that there was insufficient evidence that he “offered into evidence” the falsified documents. Held: Affirmed. Section 132 prohibits a person from offering into evidence a forged or fraudulent document during any “trial, proceeding, inquiry, or investigation.” After reviewing the applicable authorities, the Court of Appeal concluded that Gallardo’s affirmative use of his falsified documents during the family court hearing satisfied the “offers in evidence” element of section 132. The court also concluded that the documents Gallardo submitted to DCSS in connection with the administrative hearing were offered into evidence within the meaning of section 132.